The US under President Bush has pledged $15 billion over 5 years to fight HIV and AIDS, more than any other country and more than we’ve ever pledged before. Yet, AIDS activists aren’t very grateful. They just don’t like the fact that we might want to have some control over how that money is spent.

“We’re sick of bilateral donors such as the U.S. who give money with strings attached,” said protest organizer Asia Russell of Health GAP, a patients’-rights organization based in San Francisco. Though U.S. taxpayers contribute more money to the international AIDS fight than all other governments in the rest of the world combined, Health GAP and similar groups fault the Bush administration for wanting to have a say in how those funds are spent. [emphasis added]

In other words, they’re telling the US taxpayers to just shut up and their wallets. And what are these awful strings that are being attached? For one, we want to promote abstinence and not just free condoms, following the example of Uganda, which has gone from having a 30 percent infection rate to just 6 percent (the lowest in Africa) after instituting that promotes abstinence first. God forbid that we should tell people carrying a fatal disease that spreads through sexual contact that maybe they should do the moral thing and refrain from sex. Refrain from sex! Don’t you know that voluntarily refraining from sex leads to pedophilia? (Well, it does if you believe all those people who say that priestly celibacy caused the Scandal.)

In any case, this is what passes for gratitude among liberals. Rather than a hearty thank you, what we get is “Is that all?” and then a nasty glare while they berate us for presuming to want some control over how our money is spent. It reminds me of Bill Clinton talking about why he wouldn’t pass the middle-class tax cut he once promised: Because we wouldn’t spend our own money correctly. Well, thank you, Mommy. What would I do without my intellectual and moral superiors telling me what to do with my own money?

  • That Uganda stat doesn’t smell right, Dom. Given that one has HIV for life, the only way to go from a 30 percent infection rate to a 6 percent rate is to have no new infections *and* quintuple the population. The first is possible in theory if very unlikely in practice. But populations don’t quintuple in a short period.